Tutors as Academic Leaders in a Virtual Environment
Leidy Pichardo, Academic Support Manager, College Discovery , Bronx Community College
Jessica C. Rivera, SEEK Academic Program Manager, Medgar Evers College
“Tutoring is productive because I am learning more, and I am getting work done; the tutor shares her screen and gives me the feedback I need to better understand the assignment” – anonymous CD student. As the statement above declares, tutoring is essential to student academic success. Amid the Covid19 Pandemic many areas were severely affected, especially the area of academic support. Research shows that students who attend tutoring regularly perform better and earn higher grades in their courses. Many tutoring centers, such as College Discovery and SEEK experienced devastating budget cuts resulting in a reduction of tutoring personnel. Working with less staff and limited resources, the Academic Support Managers at BCC and Medgar Evers College, collaborated in a tutor virtual training to empower tutors in creating and sustaining effective online learning environments during the fall 2020 semester. “How Learning Works: Seven Research Strategies for Effective Teaching” by Susan Ambrose et al. was used as the main resource for the seven-part training series. Forty participants completed the training, including CD/SEEK counselors, tutors, and managers across CUNY. Our efforts were made with the goal of providing quality professional development to CD/SEEK tutors and academic support staff to support, enhance, and promote effective online learning environments. As a response to the fall surveys, tutor virtual trainings are being offered in the spring 2021 semester using “Change Leadership in Higher Education: A practical guide to Academic Transformation”, by Jeffrey L. Buller as the mentor text. Tutors, as learning facilitators are being empowered to be agents of change within their organizational cultures and structures. As they grow as professionals, their development and leadership skills have short-term and long-term impact on the student services they provide.